While there are few authors in this world that I follow religiously, the quality of the two books that Malcolm Gladwell has written previously, The Tipping Point and Blink, compelled me a few months ago to get on the pre-order list for his newest book — Outliers. And since it arrived just in time for a relaxing read over the Thanksgiving holiday, now seems like a perfect time to review it!
Subtitled “The Story of Success”, Outliers weaves together a variety of fascinating anecdotes and social science findings to try and explain why some people go on to brilliant achievements — while others, even those with abundant natural talent and near-genius intelligence, live out their lives in relative obscurity and mediocrity. Examining an array of high achievers ranging from Bill Gates to The Beatles, the author uncovers a number of hidden cultural, social, and demographic factors that often get overlooked in the common belief that it is purely individual talent, or merit, that leads a person to rise to the top of his or her field. For example, in this book, you’ll learn why the vast majority of professional hockey and baseball players have birthdays in January, February, and March. You’ll learn why the person with the highest IQ in America was utterly unsuccessful in college. And you’ll learn why scientists from multiple countries have found “10,000 hours” to be the magic number that transforms a talented person from being merely “good” at something to truly great.
All in all, while critics have pointed out that the book is more disjointed than Gladwell’s previous works, and Outliers seems to be more of a collection of essays, as opposed to a unified publication, I promise you that you’ll still find the author’s insights mesmerizing — and great small talk for your networking and interviewing activities, if nothing else! Highly recommended…
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